Saturday, 16 April 2016

What Moms Google - Sleep NOW

It's time for #whatmomsgoogle where Simply Shaunacey and I team up to answer the questions parents are googling about kids aged three and under! We don't promise to be right but we do promise to be real.

This week's Google Topic?  SLEEP.

When you type "should my baby" or "how to make my baby" into Google, after the poop problems come the sleep suggestions. For example:

First of all, I want to say that I have never actually googled "should my baby sleep with a hat" but now I'm interested. Have YOU? 

Maybe if my babies had worn hats they would sleep. Excuse me while I go put a hat on my 8-month-old and the toddler and myself and maybe the dog... Okay, I'm back. 

SLEEP. This subject haunts me. It eludes me. I daydream about it because I'm never unconscious long enough at night to actually dream about it. 

Ooh. Rough night, man. Rough night. I feel at least 3 years old today.

On that note, let's start with full disclosure: My toddler STILL wakes up two or three times a night screaming about such calamities as being hot (not too hot, just hot), wondering where her pony might be (what pony? She's not sure. One of them), asking what we're doing tomorrow or checking where her shadow went.

Thank you, Honest Toddler.

Now that we've established my authority on sleep in small children, next let's play a game of "Never WILL I ever" declarations I made about being a parent.

  • Never will I ever let my baby sleep in bed with me.
  • Never will I ever have baby sleeping in my room.
  • Never will I ever nurse my baby to sleep.
  • Never will I ever give my baby a pacifier.

My first daughter stayed in a bassinet in our room for three months and my second daughter only lasted two months in our room before she headed to her crib because I was scared I was going to roll over on her after nursing her to sleep in our bed. Her favourite object is her monkey soother. So basically, I guess the conclusion of this game is that I end up owing you a box of wine diapers.

Every mom with a magic sleeping baby will have a fail-proof sleep training method for you to try. Heck, try the method, but let me say this: after you're done attachment parenting, soothing, not soothing, crying it out (you and them), crib, swing, car and co-sleeping... call a friend and take a nap. Your kids will survive the no-sleep-zone but you might not. 

Ten second power nap on the playground? Check. Ready to roll...

My babies refuse to sleep as much as the sleep books claim they should. I know, I know, Sleep begets sleep. I have strict schedules and they laugh in an extremely adorable awake manner. With my firstborn, this drove me to worry over the harm that she might be experiencing from sleep deprivation. What a joke. My second daughter and I have an understanding. I don't even try to make her take two naps a day and she grudgingly succumbs to one and is the happiest child I have ever seen. 


Since I cannot make my children sleep, my expertise lies in sleep survival skills. 

Here are my top 5 tips for surviving non-sleepers

1. Accept that your child doesn't sleep.

If you've tried all the methods and your kid won't sleep, welcome to the club (Also, see this encouraging article: You are never going to sleep again). Outside of health concerns (get that stuff checked out), knowing that your kids just WON'T sleep can actually be a relief. You're not doing something wrong. They are just terrible people. You can stop channeling all that guilt and energy into getting them to sleep and learn to nap standing up.

Me: Is there a filter for AGING WHILE I TAKE THE PHOTOGRAPH? Gabrielle: nom nom nom.

2. Ask for help.  

Sure little Jimmy is sweet as pie when Grandma visits but Grandma doesn't see little Jimmy gurgling in mischievous delight at 3am. Don't worry about your friends judging you and definitely don't worry about perfect Patty down the road. Pawn off your children and pass out. Everything will be better when you get a little rest. 

3. No big talks or decisions on no sleep. 

Ever wondered why Britney Spears shaved her head? No you don't because you're a parent and you've probably thought "What a great idea!" on night six of your teething drooling slave master's schedule. 

What's your name again? Never mind. Raincheck on that. Great talk!

Communication is first in marriage and all that, but if you'd like to stay married, I recommend that you and your partner never talk about anything deep in your relationship for the first two years of parenting... at least not during teething. Here's a helpful mantra: no sleep, bury it deep. I'll work that one out later in counselling.

4.  Write it down. 

Mom brain is a real thing. I don't know if it's hormones, sleep deprivation or early-onset dementia (I seriously hope not), but I can read an email, be excited about the person and the email, make a mental note to respond and then completely forget that the person or email even exist. If you've come home from the store without a list and with three bags of grapes, a roll of paper towel and some hand soap and thought, "This isn't going to feed us for the next two weeks" then you know exactly what I mean. This isn't the time to go on Jeopardy or even try to win the round of Trivial Pursuit. Write down the appointments. In fact, write a note to schedule the appointments in the first place. While you're at it, schedule a nap.

5. Don't be a hero. Be a Sleep Survivor.

Cut yourself some slack. A good friend told me recently to just STOP trying to help anyone else. That sounds really selfish, but she said it a lot better, with flowing analogies and concrete reasoning. Basically her point was that when your kids are really small, all of your resources are tied up in survival. She assured me that once they get a little bigger, slowly but surely it's possible to re-enter the zone of life called participation and volunteerism but for the time being, conserve your energy and bank all the extra zest you've got. You're running on a sleep deficit and in about five minutes, you're gonna need it.

Reasons my baby is not napping: There's a dog. There's no dog. Teething. Not tired. Too tired. Poopy diaper. Diaper's too clean. Itchy onesie. Pajamas too fluffy. Room too stimulating. Bored. Not enough toys. Hungry. Too full. It's Friday. Heard something. Too quiet.

Now, if your instinct is to send me your sleep guru or to counsel me in sleep therapy, stop. I'm suuuuuuper busy trying this Haggard Mother Sleep Training and so far, so good. Back off, bossy Bertha.

Everyone else? Since your brain is basically mush, I'll just repeat the key points. 
You're not alone. 
It's not your fault. 
Babies are bad (really cute) people. 
Ask for help. 
Cut yourself some slack. 
All the naps.

Now yawn your way over to see what Shaunacey Says. She'll keep you conscious for another six minutes.

AND don't forget to come back next week to see how we treasure your troubles... or trouble your treasures. Whatever.

Click HERE to ask... you know you want to.

Please note that while we appear to be outstanding in our field of parenting wisdom, 
we're actually just out standing in a field, hiding from our children, 
Abbie in the prairies and Shaunacey in her urban sprawl. 
We recommend getting a second opinion 
before making any major life changes 
based on our advice.

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